She's the Future of Digital Design: Meet Senior Rachel Corres

Rachel Corres, a talented digital design major, did a summer internship at Novartis.

Rachel Corres, a senior majoring in digital design, interned this summer at Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation. She worked as a graphic designer for Novartis’s Creative Media and Print division in East Hanover, N.J.  During the course of the summer, she designed logos, theme icons and graphics for the company’s website and events.

Corres is a designer with an artist’s eye, and as a student at NJIT she’s won several design competitions.  Just some of her awards include the VALE (Virtual Academic Library Environment) Program Cover Competition and the Second Year Design Award for Digital Design at NJIT.  Her designs have been displayed around the NJIT campus and she’s the founding president of NJIT SIGGRAPH, a student group that helps students to learn more about the computer graphics industry. She's also a student in the Albert Dorman Honors College at NJIT.

Given her talents, her superiors at Novartis tasked her with working on important design projects. Or, in her words: “My mentors believed in putting interns through the "wringer,” says Corres, “so after a day or two of shadowing my mentors they had me dive right into various projects.  So I experienced corporate America first-hand.”

In this interview Corres describes her summer internship --- what she worked on and what she learned -- and her overall love of digital design.

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How did you get the internship?

Near the end of last semester, Professor Glenn Goldman sent me and eight other students in my studio an email about the Novartis internship. He asked us to provide our resumes and abbreviated portfolios. He helped us fine tune our resumes and portfolios and sent them to the design manager at Creative Media and Print at Novartis. Later I was notified that I was one of three chosen to be interviewed for the internship. The design manager and one of her graphic designers came to NJIT and interviewed me and two other classmates. A couple of days later, I received a call from the design manager telling me that I got the internship.

Did the work you did during your internship relate to your studio work at NJIT?

In my internship, I worked mostly with graphic design, which is a part of digital design. It was definitely interesting to see how college relates to the working world. Just as my studio professor sits with me to go over my work, my design manager sat with me and observed my progress, giving her input on ways to improve my designs. Our work area at Novartis was similar to studio, in that all the graphic designers work at desks side by side in an open area, instead of working in cubicles. That way we could talk and communicate with each other. I feel that the studio review sessions at school prepared me to speak with clients and explain my ideas to my boss and co-workers.

How did you get interested in digital design?

I started off with an interest in graphic design during high school and I completed an associate’s degree in Graphic Design/Fine Arts at Union County College. When looking for a four year school to transfer to, my dad suggested that I look at NJIT’s Digital Design program. I did and saw that it offered so much more than graphic design; it opened my eyes to a new world of design and technology that I didn’t even consider before. I liked the program so much that I passed up a full ride to New Jersey City University and chose to come to NJIT instead. Haven't regretted it since.

What do you like about digital design and about the digital design major at NJIT?

I like the fact that when a Digital Designer designs, he or she does not necessarily need to abide by the rules of the physical world. Designing for the virtual world gives us students the creativity to explore new heights with today's technology.  NJIT's Digital Design program also gives us the chance to explore what the industry has to offer, from entertainment to commercial pursuits.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

After graduation, I’m open to any opportunity. I'd like to find another internship or a job at a New York City design studio, working with 3D modeling/lighting and textures/visual effects/post production. I’d also like to work with graphic and web design.

Do you think your internship will help you find a job or another good internship after you graduate?

Yes, the experience I gained while interning at Novartis has prepared me for working in a professional environment and taught me practical design skills that I can apply to future jobs or internships. I look forward to the different job and internship opportunities the computer graphics industry has to offer.

By Robert Florida